Even before I became a complicated vegan, I feared dog food. When Bodie moved in, my fear heightened as a concerned parent and as a vegan. Before I could say sweet potato biscuit pet owners scolded me. “Dogs are meant to eat meat”, it’s in their DNA”, “dogs come from wolves,” “not feeding them meat is abuse”…blah, blah, blah. Of course, the meat of their wolf ancestry was not chock full of toxins and antibiotics. Plus, I really couldn’t see Bodie or one of his relatives as a predator.
So the Status quo says keep the dogs full of “meat”. Of course it’s not really what we would consider meat, is it? Most dog food “meats” are heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn babies. “Chicken” consists mainly of backs and frames. “4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) are banned for human consumption, but can still be used in dog food. The same law applies for the “premium” and “natural” varieties . So I ask, is this “essential” animal protein helping or killing our canines.? I’m no vet, doctor, or dog nutritionist but it seems that all those nasty ingredients would be hard on the kidneys, heart, liver, and arteries (but great for cancer).
Here’s some conspiracy stuff. There is a giant dog food industry (like the tobacco and soda industries) that pushes products they know is not healthy for their consumers. I have many “dogs need meat” articles sent to me and I always look at the author. One guy (Dr. TJ Dunn) writes for PetMD and runs a website funded by various dog food companies. He is also employed by petfoodsdirect.com. Biased indeed.
Then there are the recalls. At least once a month a main brand dog food is recalled for killing or making a dogs ill and this isn’t just the stuff from China. The last big one came out of a manufacturer in Colorado. See if your dog food has been recalled. I bet it has. The real tragedy is that in most cases, the dog food manufacturer doesn’t even take their deadly fare off the shelves. It’s voluntary. Dogs die and they don’t care as long as their money keeps rolling in. Who wants to play Russian Roulette every time you feed your dog? Instead of criticizing our depriving our dog of meat, consider it a possible safeguard. If you want to put your dogs health in the hands of a greedy corporation, that’s your choice.
All that said, I don’t claim to know everything. Julia and I attended a conference on the advantages of making your dog a vegan. The veterinarian had statistics, a PowerPoint and answered all our questions confidently and to our satisfaction. While watching the presentation, Bodie was running around. A three-legged dog kept trying to get me to play. How can you resist a three-legged dog? Wait it was the star of the PowerPoint I just watched. It was “Piggy!” As the story goes “they first found him on the streets of the Dominican Republic, Piggy was just a pup – he had no hair, he was skin hanging over a skeleton, and he could barely walk a couple of blocks,” owner Tod recalls. “After a few months recovering on his vegan diet, he literally tripled in size to 45 pounds, gained a foot in height, exploded with healthy, soft fur … and he runs for miles on his three legs.” Piggy was one happy dog, that’s for sure, a real lust for lifer. I talked to Tod afterwards and he told me that he had gotten some angry responses from his online story of Piggy. Some bordered on death threats.
The favorite story is that of Bramble. Whenever someone criticizes a vegan diet for dogs, we always say, what about Bramble? Bramble, a 27-year-old vegan Border Collie, was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog. That’s 189 in human years. Makes you think. Maybe Bodie could be like Bramble.
Bodie has been on a vegan diet for about 6 months now. Here’s what we’ve noticed. His pancreatitis has disappeared. He’s was very overweight and as a vegan, he has slimmed down and even appears to have gained some muscle. He used to itch all the time and that has disappeared. He also had some bumps on his skin that seem to have gone away. Although Bodie still loves to sleep he’s seems more alert, energetic and well…lovable. We’ll never know if Bodie likes his vegan diet because he can’t talk. We don’t have time to make Bodie his meals so we use a food he really likes called V-dog which has all the necessary nutrients and none of the heads, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, fat trimmings etc..